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DRAWlloween + INKtober — Pumpkin

The DRAWlloween topic for today was a simple, straightforward pumpkin . . . but I guess I wasn’t feeling particularly simple or straightforward.

DRAWlloween + INKtober — Werewolf

You might think that after attempting the 24-Hour Comic challenging this weekend, I might be kinda “drawn out” for a few days . . . but you’d be wrong. It’s Day 5 of my other two October artist challenges, and the DRAWlloween calendar calls for a werewolf. So here his my werewolf AND his INKtober counterpart.

SUMO: What Does “Full House” REALLY Mean?

The Japan News (a service of the Yomiyuri Shimbun newspaper) posted an interesting article about what it means when a day of sumo matches is declared a “full house.” When a day’s tickets are “sold out,” the Kyokai (Sumo Association) has banners unfurled to hang above the tsuriyani (the Shinto-temple style roof that is suspended over the dohyo) thanking the audience for providing a “full house.”

Honestly, this is something I didn’t even NOTICE until recently because during my entire time in Japan and following sumo after my return those banners hung on EVERY SINGLE DAY of EVERY HON-BASHO. That’s right, as the article notes, they declared a “full house” for every day for nearly EIGHT YEARS. I just thought they were a permanent part of the hon-basho regalia.

What the article doesn’t say (mostly because people who have been following sumo for the past few years already know it) is that in the previous decade the banners haven’t been flying nearly as reliably. Indeed, in the mid-2000s there were many days when the stadium was at best half-filled as the sport of sumo suffered through several scandals and a loss of interest among the general population. It’s only recently that it has seen a resurgence in popularity.

So far this year EVERY day has been declared a “full house.” In fact, for the recently completed Aki Basho, the Kyokai announced on Day 1 that all advance sale tickets for all days of the tournament were already sold out. So it seems like sumo is seeing a resurgence of popularity, which makes it a GREAT time to be following and learning about the sport.

Man, I can hardly wait for the Kyushu Basho in November!

DRAWlloween + INKtober — Vampire

Vampire is the theme for DRAWlloween Day 4 and I decided to go with something classic and creepy—something that owes more to Nosferatu than it does to Dracula or Lestat. Something that’s clearly a monster. I’m not 100% happy with how the crosshatching came out on the INKtober version. I INTENDED to use changes in the angle of the lines (particularly on the creature’s body) to create feelings of depth, weight, and balance/posture . . . and to an extent I think I did. But I lost the flow somewhere along the way and the final effect is just a little too sloppy looking for my taste.

The Codex Seraphinianus Returns

Have you heard of the Codex Seraphinianus? It’s one of those weird books (like the Voynich Manuscript and some of the stranger Aztec codices) that mix bizarre, often inexplicable illustrations with text of a completely alien nature (or no text at all) . . . except this one was made by an Italian artist in the 1980s.

I’d heard of the book (that’s just the kind of social circles I move in) but never seen it. I just found out, however, that a new edition was released a couple of years ago. In a world where I had unlimited spending money, I’d totally own as many of these weird manuscripts as I could get my hands on. As it is, I really can’t manufacture a good excuse for me to spend the better part of $100 to get one. And, really, all it would do is sit on the shelf for months (or years) until some evening when I was in a strange enough mood to pull it down and page through it. But oh what an evening that would be!

DRAWlloween + INKtober — Goblin

Today’s DRAWlloween subject is “Goblin,” and while my first thought was to do something in a D&D vein, I decided instead to draw something that felt more like a fairytale goblin (at least to me). And sitting right alongside it is the INKtober version of the very same goblin.

(Just for the purposes of full disclosure I ought to say that I posted these drawings on Friday because I knew I’d be too busy with 24-Hour Comic Day to do the job on Saturday. Head over to my Facebook or Twitter feed—both @stannex—to see how THAT endeavor is going.)

The 24-Hour Comic Challenge Starts NOW

This is a pre-loaded reminder that I’m participating in 24-Hour Comic Day today. Together with other members of the Cartoonist League of Absurd Washingtonians (the CLAW), for the next twenty-four hours I’ll be ensconced at Tacoma Games, each of us attempting in that time to create a 24-page comic.

If you’re in the area, swing on by. We’ll all try to be entertaining as we’re being creative . . . and we’ll also be raising money for the CLAW’s scholarship fund.

If you find yourself elsewhere in the world, follow my progress on my Twitter or Facebook feed. I just might go to those resources looking for help, inspiration, or creative and thematic suggestions.

And wherever you are, wish me luck. I think I’m going to need it!

DRAWlloween + INKtober — Devil

It’s Day 2 of DRAWlloween, and the subject of the day is “devil.” This isn’t THE devil. He looks more to me like a middle-management devil. *shiver* It’s ALSO Day 2 of INKtober, and so you can see his black-and-white compatriot, too.

Where Does Creativity Come From?

Since I’ve now publicly committed to three artistic challenges in the month of October, this seems like a very timely topic.

I’ve done a lot of different seminars and speaking engagements over the years, and the single question I’ve been asked more often than any other is “Where do your ideas come from?” It’s a question that haunts everyone, from those who want to unlock creativity in their own lives and minds to professional creators who worry about where their next ideas are going to come from.

The truth is, no one really KNOWS . . . though many have suspicions, or at least descriptions of the actions they take to release their creative impulses. But this weekend NPR aired an episode of the TED Radio Hour that examines the source of creativity . . . and, as someone who does make his living in creative endeavors, I found it utterly fascinating (particularly Charles Limb’s talk about “What the Creative Mind Looks Like”).

If this sort of thing is something you wonder about, or if you’re a person who gets asked where your ideas come from, there’s all sorts of interesting tidbits in here for you to chew on, pass along to others, or use to keep the wellspring of your own creativity flowing.

DRAWlloween + INKtober — Ghost

It’s Day 1 of DRAWlloween . . . and here’s my “ghost.” Also, the INKtober version of the same illo.